2016 Phelps Creek Vineyards, Pinot Noir “Cuvee Alexandrine” Columbia Gorge, Oregon.
One of Oregon’s best kept secrets, Phelps Creek Vineyards in the Columbia Gorge makes one of the state’s most compelling Pinot Noirs and their 2016 is a gorgeous wine with wonderfully delicacy and beauty that dances on the palate and lingers on and on, this is a not to miss vintage. Made by the Gevrey-Chambertin vigneron Alexandrine Roy of the famous Domaine Marc Roy for the Morus family who’s property is located on the picturesque hillsides above the Hood River and is perfect for cool climate varietals like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Bob Morus’ small family winery has a talented crew, obviously with the quality you find in the glass and while Roy is exceptionally gifted she can’t be there full time as she makes her wines in Burgundy, she has long time Gorge guru Bill Swain and Ira Kreft to lead full time at Phelps Creek, both are UC Davis alums and fit perfectly in the fold here. That said, this special Cuvee Alexandrine, is all about what Roy brings to the winery and in the glass it drinks as brilliant and as elegant as her Gevrey bottlings, especially in this 2016 version.
The highly aromatic and lacy 2016 Cuvee Alexandrine is crafted in Alexandrine Roy’s signature style, with the fourth generation Burgundian winemaker’s best hand picked lots, it is a barrel selection of what the winery calls the finest of their native yeast fermented estate barrels and the ruby and bright crimson hued new release is full of flavor that rides in on a medium bodied frame. This warm year gave the purest of fruit with racy red cherries, vine picked raspberry, plum and wild strawberry layers that feel silken in the mouth with pretty floral tones and graceful mouth feel, while still being vibrant and lively. There’s a seductive and evocative sense of earthiness, minerallity and density that thrills and it adds a mix of Asian spice, chanterelle, cinnamon, a touch of sweet toasty oak and rose hip tea. I have been a fan of this Cuvee for many vintages, but this looks set to be the best yet and compares well with Cameron, Brick House and other elite Oregon offerings and even Phelps Creek’s regular estate stuff is well worth searching out, and as noted in prior reviews their Chardonnay is absolutely brilliant. The lightly reduced and slightly smoky 2016 Cuvee Alexandrine Pinot will gain with bottle age, best guess window looks to be between 5 to 7 years, even though it is sublime now, especially with matching cuisine.
($56 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive